On September 4, 2014, a New York Appellate Court affirmed the substance of a $4.7 million judgment against a LASIK eye surgeon, and his New York City practice.
Following a nine-day trial in May 2009, a Manhattan jury awarded the patient $100,000 for past pain and suffering, a record $3,000,000 for future pain and suffering, $60,000 in past loss earnings and $740,000 for future loss of earnings.
On August 12, 2011, judgment was entered in the amount of $4,520,299.58.
On appeal, the LASIK surgeon challenged the statute of limitations and damage awards, among other things. The statute of limitations in New York for medical malpractice is 2.5years, and is extended for continuous treatment. At issue was a 30-month delay between the initial LASIK surgery in 2004 and the patient’s return in 2007 for blurry vision. Showing “great deference” to the jury’s determination that the treatment was continuous, the appellate court upheld that portion of the jury’s verdict.
As a result of the eye doctor’s medical malpractice, the patient developed post-LASIK ectasia, which is a vision threatening disease of the cornea. Post-LASIK ectasia is a time bomb that frequently carries a long fuse of many years before it detonates. Consequently, the appellate court’s statute of limitations decision is very important for LASIK victims in New York who may not have an injury until years after their eye surgery.
The patient complained about problems with the quality of his vision, including double vision, starbursts and halos. He had chronic dry eyes. He struggled at work, and could tolerate his rigid gas permeable contact lenses for only six hours a day. Even through his driver’s license was unrestricted, the appellate court observed, “Even surveillance tape shown at trial by defendant establishes that plaintiff must depend on his wife and father for rides to work and other places.”
The $3,000,000 damage award for pain and suffering in an eye injury case is the largest reported appellate decision.
Plaintiff was represented by Todd J. Krouner of the Law Offices of Todd J. Krouner, in Chappaqua, New York. Following Mr. Krouner’s $7.25 million verdict in Schiffer v. Speaker, he has the two largest verdicts for LASIK malpractice.